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As mentioned at the outset, Kirby made plays and won games with his feet. One of his most spectacular runs came between- the-hedges against South Carolina in 1967. He sprinted off left tackle for 87 yards for a touchdown, leading Georgia to a 21-0 victory over the Gamecocks.
A funny thing happened on that play and Kirby remembers well what took place. “The Carolina players had gotten help from their coaches in scouting us and started calling out our plays as we lined up. We don’t know how they got tipped off, but they seemed to know what we were going to do.
“On the play I scored on, when I got under center with plans to hand off to our fullback Ronnie Jenkins, the defensive players started yelling, “Jenkins off tackle.” Linebackers are always doing things like that, but that was the play I had called. I considered calling time out but figured Ronnie could bull his way for three or four yards even if they knew where he was going. When Ronnie heard them, I think he figured he would need to get up a head of steam. He was supposed to counter first, but he was so intent on adding extra effort, he forgot to counter.
“When I turned to hand off the ball to him, he wasn’t there. What do you do in a case like that? You take off and start running. Fortunately, there was room to run. Suddenly, I was in the clear with nothing but green grass ahead.” The rest of the story is that Kirby sprinted 87 yards to the Gamecock end zone.
There have only been two rushing plays for a touchdown longer than Kirby’s in 1967: Tim Worley against Florida in 1985 and Johnny Griffith against Furman in 1946. Both Worley and Griffith ran for 89-yard scores.
A responsible and disciplined type, Kirby was a good student. Following graduation, he became a lawyer. He became a member of the University of Georgia Athletic Board and was active in alumni affairs, serving as President of the UGA Alumni Society.
“I have had a great life, playing football for the University of Georgia, and then enjoying a productive career in Macon where I have had the good fortune to get to know so many wonderful alumni of UGA. You just can’t beat those warm and engaging friendships. If you travel this state and say, “Go Dawgs,” you will get a generous response. That is something to appreciate.”